Friday, February 25, 2011

Composers & Conductors

This week we learned about music jobs - Conductors (who lead a group of musicians in playing a piece of music) and Composers - (who write down the music so musicians can play it).

We looked at a piece of music and noticed all the  lines and dots.  We talked about how the dots are the notes.  Solid notes are different from hollow notes and tell the musician how long to play the note.  We also learned that where the note is on the line tells the musician to play high (or low).

We learned about a famous composer: Chopin.  Chopin was 6 years old when he started composing, so you don't have to be a big person to compose music.  We played pretend pianos to Chopin's "Minute Waltz".

Then we "composed" our own music by coloring in notes on a piece of music.

Then we each got to conduct our music, first by calling out the colored notes on our music score, while the musicians played xylophones, chimes and bells.  Finally we waved the baton to lead all our friends in an all-out chime/bell choir!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Jazz Band

Although April is National Jazz Month, we thought we'd get a head start on the celebrating and have a little fun with Jazz music this week.

We learned about a few instruments that are played in a Jazz band such as trumpets, trombones, saxophones, keyboards, clarinets, bass fiddles and drums.  We saw lots of pictures, and heard lots of audio samples.  We even got to touch and play a few of these instruments:

We found out that blowing a trumpet is hard work! (Don't worry, we had special mouth-piece covers so we wouldn't share germs).

Then we read Ben's Trumpet, by Rachel Isadora about a little boy who wanted to play trumpet, but didn't have one.

We marched around the room to some music by Louis Armstrong (a very famous jazz trumpeter) while playing our own "air trumpets".

And then we listened to Jazz Fly, by Matthew Golub- a story about a fly and his troubles with his jazz band.

and finally we did a little dancing to a jazzy piece: "Rag Mop", by the Ames Brothers

Space Week

Back before our days off with the ice storm we had a little outer space fun.

First we pretended to blast off into outer space.

Then we pretended we were shooting stars to the music of Star Trek.

And then we turned out the lights and went on an alien hunt, using our pretend light sabers to the music of Star Wars.

We caught them all and have rid the galaxy of all bad aliens!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Shaker Games

One skill that is important for music is being able to listen and distinguish different sounds and pitches.  We played shaker games all week helping us hear similarities and differences of shaker sounds.

Our first game was matching two shakers that sound alike....

We also played a game where each child was given a shaker and they had to move around the room to see if they could find their shaker partner -- the one who had a shaker that sounded just like theirs.

Then we played another game where we worked as teams to find the shaker that matched the one we were given.

You can make your own shakers out of any container that you have at home -- empty butter tubs, easter eggs, frosting containers.  Just fill each pair with identical items, seal the tops with tape if necessary, and see how many shaker varities you can create. 

It's sticks and drums month!

We've been playing with sticks and drums all month long.  We started out by reading a story, Max Found Two Sticks, and tapped on several different kinds of things -- just like Max does in the story.

Then we tapped and sang with our claves (CLAH-vey).  We'll keep adding on to the alphabet sequence once we've mastered a few simple moves.

Then we talked about how ANYTHING can be a drum as we read Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb, and tapped out the story on shoe boxes one day, and beach balls the next!
See how many "drums" and "sticks" you can find around the house...

Snow Day...

Sorry it's been so long since my last post!  The holidays are always crazy, and then I got a new camera for christmas that isn't compatable with my editing software, so it's taken me a few weeks to get it all figured out.

So since it's a cold snowy day outside, here are some cold snowy songs for inside!